The average Filipino household spends 7.2 percent of its income on utility bills, MoneyMax.ph revealed, an amount that can be reduced by applying some easy “hacks” to lower electricity, water, and communications services consumption.
One of the simplest tips to reduce electricity is simply to keep appliances such as air conditioners, fans, and refrigerators clean and maintained. “Neglecting maintenance and routine checkups can result in you spending an extra 10 percent on your electric bill,” MoneyMax.ph’s Bea Bongat said.
Another tip that is often overlooked is choosing light and pastel paint colors for one’s home. Light colors absorb less heat than darker colors. “By decreasing heat absorption in your home, you can decrease your air-con and fan usage, which in turn will help you save on electricity bills,” Bongat said.
MoneyMax.ph also recommended replacing incandescent or compact fluorescent lamps with LED lamps. “The initial cost may be higher, but you will save in the long run,” Bongat said. “In addition, the longer you keep on LED lights, the more energy efficient they are compared to a 45-watt array of compact fluorescent lamps.”
“If left unfixed, broken pipes and small leaks can lead to bigger and more expensive problems,” Bongat said. A faucet that leaks one drip per second, for example, wastes up to 3,000 gallons of water per year according to data from the US Department of Energy.
Bongat recommended having the home’s plumbing checked once a year to prevent leaks and correct other issues before they become bigger problems.
Other suggestions include taking fewer or shorter showers—one eight-minute shower uses about 17 gallons of water—washing clothes in cold water instead of hot water, and using water-use tracking devices, which are now widely available and even come with apps so they can be monitored with a smartphone, to see how much water is being used.
Phone and internet
Bongat suggested personalizing one’s cellphone plan to match their usage in order to avoid paying more than necessary for communications services.
“Some people send text more than they call, others vice versa, and the majority spend more time on the Internet than the traditional SMS and phone call. Nowadays, telecom companies are offering personalized phone plans where you can mix and match modules according to your preference,” she said.
Other easy ways to reduce bills for phone and data services include double-checking phone settings to ensure that the “update/download only when connected to Wi-Fi” option is checked to prevent excessive data use, and if possible, opting for a prepaid rather than a postpaid plan, which allows one to set limits on the budget for phone and internet use.